One last day to visit Henderson bird area – and we were treated to a great view of the thrasher. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, Bill’s camera acted up and he couldn’t get any photos of it until it was nearly gone from view. But we were happy to see it so close up and for such a long time. Maybe the camera was as excited as we were and couldn’t handle the pressure?
Also had a long session with a Greater Roadrunner, male, who crossed back-and-forth in front of us as we walked around the ponds. Lots of great photos of him!
Dropped into a shopping center with an Apple store so Bill could update something on his computer – then ate lunch at “California Pizza Kitchen” – where we saw one of the property brothers but don’t know which one, since they’re identical twins! (only those addicted to HGTV stuff would know who this is!)
We left Christmas Eve day to drive to Quartzsite, AZ. What a lovely day for driving – and the longest so far, 4 hours. Bill really feels comfortable driving this beast now, so all good. We arrived to a town which is made up of mainly RV parks – ours being the nicest (we think) – not too junked up with knick-knacks & long-term residents! It is called “Quail Run” and sure enough, a covey of Gambel’s Quails were seen running across the office sidewalk!
We missed Brian for our Xmas eve dinner & showing of “A Christmas Carol” (which we had recorded earlier), but we dutifully ate our steak & Caesar salad (no choc. mousse). I cried my eyes out as usual, watching this wonderful old movie with Alastair Sim. Then we heard a loud sound of motors and were baffled as to what it was. With all the blinds drawn, we can’t really see out, but I glimpsed some Xmas lights where there’s a small gap near the driver’s seat. When I opened the curtains, we were amazed to see a procession of vehicles (I later found out they were ATV’s) decked out in Xmas lights – each a different color and arrangement. It was absolutely magical and we watched about a dozen or so slowly drive by, winding around the whole RV park. I assume they did this in all the RV parks around Quartzsite. Such a lovely Xmas present!
Celebrated Xmas morning with bacon & eggs (hardly ever)! Bill decided to work today and I had lots of cooking to do. I made a roast chicken dinner with potatoes & gravy, cornbread stuffing (“Stovetop”) & brussell sprouts. Bought some cranberry chutney for Bill & mixed some blackberry jelly with cinnamon & cloves to make “spiced grape” for me. It turned out great! We called Mom in the morning then Lou Ann in the evening. Dana hadn’t yet made it from Atlanta due to the terrible storms in the area. Ice storms outside OK City caused a 21 car pileup! Boxing Day was another work day for Bill & did some cleaning.
Finally got away to see some birds at Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) a bit west of here. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes winter here – along with lots of Canada Geese & other waterfowl. They have devised some man-made Burrowing Owl holes along their “driving loop” (where you cannot leave your car). One of my nemesis birds & such a cutie-patootie. Here’s a peek:
The next day we drove south towards Yuma, then east toward the mountains where an unusual situation can be found – a grove of fan-palm trees, which they believe are very ancient & the only native palm to Arizona. They are high in the mountains in one small canyon (well, a couple more in a nearby canyon, but 35-40 in the main canyon. We found a Black-throated Sparrow on the way in (a lifer for last year & one of our faves), along with several Rock Wrens, Loggerhead Shrikes & Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We hung around the parking lot until the sun came around the mountain because we wanted to have sun on the palm trees & we timed it perfectly!
Saturday we returned to Cibola. It is interesting to see all the cotton grown here, as well as other crops. Cotton is baled in different ways, including round hay bales we see at home. It must provide local birds with lovely, soft nests! We drove the loop again & enjoyed the sound of the Cranes when they are in flight, as well as found more Burrowing Owls. Those man-made burrows obviously work well! Many active American Kestrels, but none who would hold still long enough for a photo. We did have a great view of one of my favourite-named birds: Phainopepla (fane-oh-PEEP-lah)
This male has big white wing patches when flying, and the female is also beautiful – a lovely soft gray, with exactly the same headdress.
Today we called the Lang relatives who are all in Tulsa together, just now celebrating Christmas! Dana couldn’t get through from Atlanta due to the terrible winter weather, nor Paul & Edith. But it is never too late & we will try to make a family gathering in Colorado (at Paul & Edith’s) in mid-April before we go home.
We would like to wish everyone who reads this a most healthy & joyous Happy New Year!